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ptimms
09-01-2008, 09:29 AM
Wierd topic title I know.

I am doing some research for a friend, her mother lived in Stavelot and met some American tankers in the second liberation. Their names were Jimmy Truett and Ernest (Ernie) Bayless. She was told that when they left town they were beheaded by wires strung across the road. Now I know the wire across the road trick was used but I have never heard of an incident in the Bulge. I have put the names in the American list of the fallen and nothing comes up, I even checked by unit for likely candidates and nothing. She is sure it was Jan 45 so I think CCB of 9th armoured the most likely candidate. I also looked at 112th Infantry Regiment but nothing.

Anyone any ideas or is it just an Urban myth ?

Whilst checking 112th Infantry Regiments (28th Infantry Division) loss records I came across the fact that at least 20 men died (missing or buried at sea) on the 7/8/9 November 1945 (the late date attracted my attention). Has anyone any info on what must have been a heavy loss for a unit 6 months after the end of the war in Europe (they are buried in Holland).

Thanks

Paul

Rising Sun*
09-01-2008, 10:03 AM
Wierd topic title I know.

I am doing some research for a friend, her mother lived in Stavelot and met some American tankers in the second liberation. Their names were Jimmy Truett and Ernest (Ernie) Bayless. She was told that when they left town they were beheaded by wires strung across the road. Now I know the wire across the road trick was used but I have never heard of an incident in the Bulge. I have put the names in the American list of the fallen and nothing comes up, I even checked by unit for likely candidates and nothing. She is sure it was Jan 45 so I think CCB of 9th armoured the most likely candidate. I also looked at 112th Infantry Regiment but nothing.

Anyone any ideas or is it just an Urban myth ?

Whilst checking 112th Infantry Regiments (28th Infantry Division) loss records I came across the fact that at least 20 men died (missing or buried at sea) on the 7/8/9 November 1945 (the late date attracted my attention). Has anyone any info on what must have been a heavy loss for a unit 6 months after the end of the war in Europe (they are buried in Holland).

Thanks

Paul

Were they in the same tank?

Assuming that the tank(s) involved allowed a crew member such as the driver to have his head out where a wire could decapitate him, a single wire wouldn't get a driver with his head out and the commander in the turret because the gun, or possibly turret if gun reversed, would snag it .

There could be two wires at different heights, but this still requires two crew members to have their heads out at the same time.

If two tanks, the following tank was hardly likely to proceed after the first commander was decapitated, but maybe it's possible if a driver was decapitated and his vehicle continued.

Despite that, as just about every imaginable disaster occurred in that war, it might have happened.

flamethrowerguy
09-01-2008, 10:26 AM
I know that some US jeeps were equipped with these anti-wire devices, never heard about tanks using something similar though. I don't know if wires were attached at roads to behead enemy soldiers or if they were just for communicational reasons.

Rising Sun*
09-01-2008, 10:44 AM
I know that some US jeeps were equipped with these anti-wire devices, never heard about tanks using something similar though. I don't know if wires were attached at roads to behead enemy soldiers or if they were just for communicational reasons.

I knew a Yugoslav partisan who put wires across roads in Yugoslavia in WWII. The only communication purpose they served was to tell German troops they weren't welcome.

Nickdfresh
09-01-2008, 10:46 AM
I knew a Yugoslav partisan who put wires across roads in Yugoslavia in WWII. The only communication purpose they served was to tell German troops they weren't welcome.


And the Germans, feeling unwelcome, would often get upset and lose their heads over this.

As far as the wires strung across the road, they were probably more for jeeps than tanks. I think a sniper is far more effective at offing an exposed American tank commander or tank destroyer crewman.

flamethrowerguy
09-01-2008, 10:53 AM
Hey, these were rhetorical masterpieces in those two last posts!:)

Rising Sun*
09-01-2008, 10:54 AM
And the Germans, feeling unwelcome, would often get upset and lose their heads over this.

As far as the wires strung across the road, they were probably more for jeeps than tanks. I think a sniper is far more effective at offing an exposed American tank commander or tank destroyer crewman.

The bloke I knew said they were aiming at motorcyclists, because their vehicles gave them no protection.

They'd wait with the wire covered in a scrape on a dirt road and attached to a tree or whatever on one side, to let unwanted targets pass over, then erect it and fix it to a tree or whatever on their side when a lookout signalled that a German motorcyclist was approaching.

Then they'd run away, before de shit hit de fan!

Nickdfresh
09-01-2008, 11:01 AM
The bloke I knew said they were aiming at motorcyclists, because their vehicles gave them no protection.

They'd wait with the wire covered in a scrape on a dirt road and attached to a tree or whatever on one side, to let unwanted targets pass over, then erect it and fix it to a tree or whatever on their side when a lookout signalled that a German motorcyclist was approaching.

Then they'd run away, before de shit hit de fan!


I wonder if there are any "Headless Motorcyclemen" ghost stories in the lore of the former Yugoslavia? ;)

Rising Sun*
09-01-2008, 11:25 AM
I wonder if there are any "Headless Motorcyclemen" ghost stories in the lore of the former Yugoslavia? ;)

Dunno, but down here there's an apocryphal story in various versions which essentially involve a sheet of roofing metal flying off a truck or trailer and decapitating a following motorcyclist. In the more florid versions the headless biker zooms past the truck and causes the truck driver to have a heart attack.

I am sure this is a true story as I have heard it many times, such as from blokes who knew a bloke whose brother in law got it from a bloke whose mate worked in the factory that made the paint for the roofing metal. ;)

(This story is not as good as the other oft-told one about a pretty female television newsreader taken to hospital with a milk bottle or other object stuck in her nether regions due to a tryst gone wrong, although I prefer the version where she falls off the seat at the bus stop and her pelvis shifts and locks her partner in her so that they have to be surgically separated.)

SS Ouche-Vittes
09-01-2008, 11:52 AM
Wow, i was expecting to read something like Japanese soldiers beheading tankers. I wonder what other scary stuff happened during the war. I though wires were just to keep out the bad guys out not to behead them!

Nickdfresh
09-01-2008, 12:40 PM
Wow, i was expecting to read something like Japanese soldiers beheading tankers. I wonder what other scary stuff happened during the war. I though wires were just to keep out the bad guys out not to behead them!

I've heard worse actually. And indeed, wires were used as both obstacles and booby traps.

Rising Sun*
09-02-2008, 05:43 AM
Wow, i was expecting to read something like Japanese soldiers beheading tankers. I wonder what other scary stuff happened during the war. I though wires were just to keep out the bad guys out not to behead them!

Piano wire garottes, used by various Allied special forces types, sometimes nearly beheaded people. I don't think they could sever the cervical spine, but perhaps they did.

Jazzman
09-11-2008, 05:30 AM
I don't think the wire trick would work real well with a tank, too many things sticking out and or up to make it reliable. Plus, they had to have their heads out for it to work. The wire trick was really aimed at people riding in jeeps. Remember many of the jeeps at that time had no windshields mounted on them, so they were vulnerable to this tactic unless, as Flame posted, they had that wire-cutter device installed in front. I understand this sort of thing continued for some time after the war was over in occupied Germany due to the activity of "insurgents".

ww11freak34
09-11-2008, 08:21 PM
i heard that ppl in jeeps got beheaded but never a tanker

colonel hogan
01-08-2009, 07:24 PM
Wierd topic title I know.

I am doing some research for a friend, her mother lived in Stavelot and met some American tankers in the second liberation. Their names were Jimmy Truett and Ernest (Ernie) Bayless. She was told that when they left town they were beheaded by wires strung across the road. Now I know the wire across the road trick was used but I have never heard of an incident in the Bulge. I have put the names in the American list of the fallen and nothing comes up, I even checked by unit for likely candidates and nothing. She is sure it was Jan 45 so I think CCB of 9th armoured the most likely candidate. I also looked at 112th Infantry Regiment but nothing.

Anyone any ideas or is it just an Urban myth ?

Whilst checking 112th Infantry Regiments (28th Infantry Division) loss records I came across the fact that at least 20 men died (missing or buried at sea) on the 7/8/9 November 1945 (the late date attracted my attention). Has anyone any info on what must have been a heavy loss for a unit 6 months after the end of the war in Europe (they are buried in Holland).

Thanks

Paul
wow what a story i have never that story before!

HAWKEYE
01-24-2009, 02:42 PM
If two tanks, the following tank was hardly likely to proceed after the first commander was decapitated, but maybe it's possible if a driver was decapitated and his vehicle continued.


As mentioned it would be more difficult to behead a tanker, much less two, the first tank would have broken the wire so Rising Sun's thought on that is moot.

WWII jeeps didn't all have the windshields removed, just lowered, this was actually an order from George Patton, so the glass wouldn't reflect to give away it's position. I have many many photos of jeeps with different types of wirecutters.
I have seen a photo of a US Harley with a wirecutter attached. I'll see if I can find it.

ptimms
01-25-2009, 03:17 AM
Truthfully I don't think the suggestion was it happened at the same time, they may have been in different tanks. I am begining to think it's just an urban legend or two soldiers way of getting away from local girls !

Cpt_Prahl
05-15-2009, 02:43 PM
Here is one for you smart people just because they were tankers doesnt mean they were riding in a tank when it happened, they could have been in a jeep a captured motor bike or what ever transpo they could find who says they werent ridning on top of the tank hitching a ride, also when looking up names on NARA use the initial of the first name and possiby spelling variants for the last name you might get more results.